In May 1704 an eighty-ton brigantine, the Charles, quietly slipped into the cove at Marblehead, Massachusetts. Her sudden and unexpected appearance, some ten months after she had left Marblehead under mysterious circumstances, started tongues wagging down at the docks and in the towns dim, cramped, seafront taverns. During the following three weeks, a drama played out involving the crew of the Charles; her commander, John Quelch; and the colonial governments of Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and New Hampshire. In the hold of the ship lay large quantities of Brazilian sugar, hides, cloth, guns, and gold dust and coins worth more than 10,000 sterling–a huge fortune for the time. This booty and the circumstances of the voyage led to Quelch’s arrest on charges of piracy and murder against the subjects of Queen Anne’s newest ally, the king of Portugal. One historian called Quelch’s trial, the first admiralty trial ever held outside England, the first case of judicial murder in America.